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Harmoko, former minister and New Order spokesman, dead at 82

Jakarta Post - July 5, 2021

Jakarta – Harmoko, the information minister during the New Order Era who became the public face of the Soeharto regime, passed away on Sunday. He was 82.

Communications and Information Minister Johnny G. Plate first confirmed the news of Harmoko's passing on Sunday.

"I pray that Bapak Harmoko, former information minister, rests in peace and finds eternal peace in heaven," Johnny said on Sunday night.

Harmoko was receiving treatment for an unspecified illness at Gatot Subroto Army Hospital in Senen, Central Jakarta, where he was pronounced dead.

Head of the hospital Lt. Gen. Albertus Budi Sulistya did not give details on Harmoko's illness but said the former minister would have a burial with COVID-19 protocols.

"One thing is certain, the burial will use COVID-19 protocols," he said as quoted by CNN Indonesia.

Other officials, including speaker of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR), Bambang Soesatyo, and chairman of the Golkar Party faction in the assembly, Idris Laena, also confirmed the news of Harmoko's passing. Harmoko served as Golkar chairman between 1993 and 1998.

After his tenure as information minister, Harmoko served as MPR speaker at the tail end of the Soeharto regime, between 1997 and 1999.

Following demands from students who occupied the House of Representatives building in May 1998, Harmoko, who was then considered a loyal ally of Soeharto, called on the strongman to resign from the presidency.

Yet, it was only three months earlier that Harmoko swore in Soeharto for his seventh term.

Harmoko wrote in his memoir that he had a premonition about future trouble for Soeharto when he broke the gavel that he used to officiate the strongman's election as president by the MPR in a March 11, 1998 session.

During his term as minister, Harmoko was regularly tasked with give briefings on national television regarding the country's latest situation.

Among his memorable statements was "I am still waiting for an instruction from the President."

Source: https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2021/07/05/harmoko-former-minister-and-new-order-spokesman-dead-at-82.htm